From consistent bathroom trips to rubbing rock salt on their teeth, here are fifteen
crazy things the Ancient Egyptians did:
Fly Trap -
Pharaoh Pepi II, or Neferkare, ruled during Egypt’s Sixth Dynasty from 2278 BC to sometime
after 2247 BC.
Although he’s known for his leadership, he’s also recognized for something a bit...
sweeter, one could say.
Most of us like to add a teaspoon of honey to tea or enjoy some of the sugary spread
However, Pharaoh Pepi II used the syrupy substance to keep flies away from him and his dinner.
Back in Ancient Egypt, fly-paper hadn’t yet been invented, so they thought of interesting
ways to keep the bugs away from the Pharaoh.
They would cover a servant’s nude body in honey and have them stand some distance away
from Pepi, thus keeping the flies away from him.
Whoever was tasked with that each day must’ve drawn the short straw.
There are plenty of crazy cat ladies around the world today, but they don’t compare
to the feline fanatics of Ancient Egypt.
These four-legged friends were considered holy and admired for their abilities to capture
snakes and rodents.
They even worshipped the goddess Bastet, whose head was that of a cat; she was representative
of maternity, fertility, and guardianship.
Even after passing, they were mummified just like their human counterparts.
If anyone tried to hurt one of these animals, they had to face extreme punishment.
There was an instance where a Roman man inflicted a fatal wound upon a cat unintentionally and
was then eliminated by an angry group of citizens.
We’ve all seen the paintings and statues of Ancient Egyptians, and they’re always
depicted wearing eyeliner.
It’s true; they wore the stuff on almost a daily basis.
Was it for looks?
Yes, the makeup they wore was to enhance their beauty, but it was also used for other reasons.
They had two types of eyeliner in Ancient Egypt.
One was called “grepond eye-paint,” and the other was called “black kohl.”
The former was made by crushing malachite, a mineral that gave the makeup a green hue.
Black kohl was created from Galena, or lead glance, and charcoal was often used during
eye-paint production as well.
Although the lead found in the makeup could have caused certain health problems, it also
helped protect against eye infections.
Plus, the makeup helped guard their eyes against the sun’s harmful rays.
Other cosmetics of Ancient Egypt included lip stains and blush made from red ochre,
and henna, which people still use today.
All ancient societies had various medical practices that wouldn’t necessarily be recommended
Ancient Egypt’s pharmaceuticals were mostly laxatives… apparently they often suffered
They used various plants, including dates, figs, and bran to keep them regular.
Other treatments were castor oil and colocynth, or bitter apple.
They also concocted strange mixtures of things to keep their systems flowing; one mix was
cumin, milk, and goose fat… yum.
Many people would take laxatives several times per month to maintain a slim figure.
They even used them when they had the runs, to be rid of the malady more quickly.
Even though some of their practices might seem disgusting, many of the plants they used
in Ancient Egypt are still used in the medical field today.
Birth Control -
Almost all cultures had their own ways of preventing unwanted pregnancies.
The Ancient Greeks may have squatted and sneezed, but the Egyptians had their own unique and
unpleasant way to do this.
Since the constant bowel movements failed to prevent romance, doctors of the time came
up with different methods of contraception.
One way of doing this was to mix honey with crushed dates and immature acacia fruit and
use it like a tampon; the lactic acid formed by the acacia was surprisingly effective.
Another contraceptive combo was crocodile feces and fermented dough; but, this method
hasn’t been proven successful.
As disgusting as these practices were, Ancient Egypt was thought to have been significantly
advanced in medicine, even if they didn’t know the science behind their techniques.
The Mummy -
We’re not talking about the ones that come back to life to frighten the living, but mummification
was a highly advanced and impressive process in Ancient Egypt.
They believed that preserving people this way was a surefire way to ensure they would
make it to the afterlife.
To do this, they often separated the innards from the rest of the body and placed them
in canopic jars; each container stored a different organ, and each was thought to be needed in
The only part that was left inside the person’s body was the heart, as it was believed to
be of the utmost importance.
There were a few different processes for mummification in Ancient Egypt, which depended on how wealthy
the deceased and their family were.
Faux Fuzz -
We have all seen the iconic stiff beards depicted in Ancient Egyptian artwork.
Although some people would grow a small amount of facial hair, the majority of the population
were clean-shaven for hygienic reasons.
However, the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt only appeared to have beards; they were actually
fabricated from metal.
The rulers wore the accessories to make themselves appear more powerful and ultimately simulate
the beard of the god Osiris, who was often depicted sporting one himself.
However, it wasn’t only men who wore these fake beards; it was noted that the female
pharaoh Hatshepsut also wore one of the metal ornaments.
Gold Keepers -
Pygmies and those with dwarfism were considered pretty high up on the social chain in Ancient
They were often brought to Egypt from elsewhere, and would then be rented or sold.
They reportedly worked for the ruler in his or her home, and many people with dwarfism
were discovered buried near the kings.
Later on, they were also given jobs as jewellers, cup-bearers, animal keepers, and tailors.
Some have noted that they were given important work because they were less likely to steal,
as they would stand out in a crowd.
Ancient Egyptians even worshipped some gods that had this abnormality, such as Bes.
However, as time went on, people began ridiculing their differences.
It is noted that the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt often had several wives, and thus produced
One of these leaders was Ramesses II, or Ramses the Great.
His two main wives were Isetnofret and Nefertari; but, he had six more, making a total of eight
However, what’s astonishing about this is the number of children he created with them.
He had around fifty daughters and fifty sons… and possibly even more; so, Ramesses II had
over a hundred kids.
It’s safe to say that there was no chance his genetic line would come to an end, and
he had plenty of heirs to his throne.
Luckily, child support wasn’t an issue in those days.
There were a lot of unique recipes that came out of Ancient Egypt, one of which being for
It was nothing like the minty fresh stuff that we use today, but it isn’t the most
unfavorable mixture this old culture came up with.
Besides, after crocodile dung and fermented dough, can it get much worse?
There was an Ancient Egyptian recipe brought to light in the early 2000s that detailed
a concoction used for getting those pearly-whites clean and shiny.
The recipe was written on a worn piece of papyrus; it called for rock salt, mint, iris
flower, and pepper to be mashed together.
Once the ingredients were mixed, they’d be applied to the teeth and form a paste with
the person’s saliva.
Apparently, it wasn’t the worst invention… but, unsurprisingly it doesn’t stand up
to the Crest Whitestrips of today.
No Nose -
Ancient Egypt was full of unique traditions, fashions, and medical practices but that’s
not all they were known for; the punishments of this time were something to note as well.
There were numerous cruel disciplines people would have to face for various misdeeds throughout
the centuries, such as the scaphism of Ancient Persia and the brazen bull of Ancient Greece.
Well, Ancient Egypt wasn’t an exception when it came to barbarous retributions for
One of these punishments was cutting off the nose of the accused.
This was done to burglars and crooked politicians of the time.
They would also remove ears, lips, and other extremities.
After they inflicted the punishments, the felonious citizen was exiled or taken as a
However, there were other consequences as well, including hitting the person with a
cane and imprisonment.
Most of the Ancient Egyptian artwork we see today depicts royalty and citizens having
So, some people might find it surprising that, opposed to common belief, this ancient group
often shaved their heads.
We already talked about the fake beards worn by the hierarchy of the time, but they also
preferred baldness to real locks.
They didn’t necessarily find the look more attractive, but they commonly got rid of their
hair for easier maintenance and health purposes.
One of the most considerable reasons was to avoid lice.
Apparently, the Ancient Egyptians were plagued by these critters and did just about everything
in their power to do away with them.
So, one of the easiest ways to protect against the parasites was shaving themselves bald.
The higher-ups were famous for wearing wigs, which is what we see in ancient artistry.
Woozy Workers -
People often wonder how Ancient Egypt’s pyramids came to be.
Were they constructed by servants, aliens, or with some kind of futuristic technology?
Well, aliens might have helped out, but the majority of them were paid-workers.
However, the citizens who participated in the pyramid construction weren’t paid in
cash; in fact, they weren’t paid in any sort of currency.
They were compensated with something a bit more… enjoyable, one could say.
The liquid gold these guys cashed in was beer!
They would take home between four and five liters of the bubbly drink per day, which
equals over a gallon.
It’s surprising the workers got anything done since they probably had hangovers on
Apparently, there have also been accounts of payment with alcohol in Mesopotamia, during
the Middle Ages, and even in present day.
Whatever the case, the beer kept workers obedient and somehow resulted in well-constructed pyramids.
The kings and queens of Ancient Egypt have always been depicted as healthy, thin, beautiful,
and almost godlike.
They appear strong and muscular in artwork from that time, but this simply wasn’t the
In reality, the pharaohs weren’t in shape at all.
In 2007, a mummy found in the Valley of the Kings was discovered to be Hatshepsut.
This female pharaoh reigned during Egypt’s eighteenth dynasty and was the second woman
recorded to rule.
Although she was presented as beautiful in drawings and carvings throughout the centuries,
she was anything but.
According to some archaeologists, she was overweight and most likely had diabetes.
She was the complete opposite of what she tried to portray to future generations.
Although she often dressed like a man, her rule was still controversial.
Her stepson even tried eliminating her from historical documents.
Baby Ready -
We’ve already discussed some of the strange medical practices of Ancient Egypt, however,
the ones used for fertility and pregnancy testing might take the cake.
One way they tested for fertility was quite foul-smelling.
Although many people find onion and garlic delicious in a meal, women of this time used
the ingredients in different ways.
A doctor would order them to use a piece of onion or garlic like a tampon and leave it
in place overnight.
In the morning, he would take a whiff of her breath; if it smelled like the vegetable,
then she was ready to become pregnant.
Another test involved rubbing oil on a woman’s body.
The substance would be slathered on her chest, and she would leave it there overnight; if
her veins were prevalent when she awoke, then she could conceive a child.
As far as testing for pregnancy, doctors called for something a little different.
Although they didn’t urinate on the plastic test strips we see today, they had to relieve
themselves on something else: seeds.
The pregnant woman would urinate on seeds.
If the plant that grew was barley, then she was giving birth to a boy.
If the sprouted plant was wheat, then she was pregnant with a girl.
If nothing started to grow, then she wouldn’t give birth.
What do you think is the craziest thing Ancient Egyptians did and why?